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Ear to the Ground

Syria: Obama Has Contingency Plans for Chemical Weapons

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Posted on Aug 20, 2012
White House/Pete Souza

The president says he is not eager to dive into Syria’s 17-month-old civil war, but his administration has “put together a range of contingency plans” in case embattled strongman Bashar al-Assad decides to move or use the stockpiles of chemical weapons he is alleged to hold.

Assad has so far authorized the use of tanks, artillery and attack helicopters against his own people, so there’s no telling where he’ll draw the line as he feels increasingly desperate.

As always, it is unclear what action the United States is prepared to undertake, but The Washington Post reports that the U.S. is collaborating on this matter with Turkey, Jordan and Israel.

The Washington Post:

Speaking at an impromptu news conference at the White House, Obama noted that he has not authorized military operations against Syria. But he said that any effort by President Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons would have significant consequences.

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus,” Obama said. “That would change my equation. .?.?. We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.”

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—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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